New Superior of the SSPX – Father Davide Pagliarini

New Superior of the SSPX – Father Davide Pagliarini – 7/11/18

Italian Father Davide Pagliarani, 47, was elected for a 12-year-mandate as the Superior General of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) on July 11.

Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta was elected as the first and Father Christian Bouchacourt as the second assistant.

Pagliarani was ordained a priest in 1996. He worked in Italy and Singapore, was then appointed Superior of the District of Italy and has been the rector of the Argentinean seminary since 2012.

The blog predicted on June 24th, that Pagliarani is the leading candidate for the election and called him favoured by the more “conservative” of the SSPX priests.

In a 2011 interview, Pagliarani defended the theological talks with the Vatican. According to him their aim was never to reach an agreement but to compile a complete dossier in order to crave out the positions of both sides.

He said the Society “intends to cooperate so that the Church can reclaim her Tradition” and therefore needs to be “a stumbling block and a sign of contradiction: with or without a canonical regularization”.

Pagliarani stated that a regularisation would not abolish the state of necessity which continues to exist in the Church “and which until now has justified the action of the Society”.

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8 comments on “New Superior of the SSPX – Father Davide Pagliarini

  1. As I recall from 2012, there was to be released a document, a transcript, of the exchanges by both sides from the talks. It seemed like a sound idea. Oh, well…

    • A lot of people have been waiting for information — any information — as to how those talks went.
      Could it be possible that such a critical interchange between the SSPX and Modernist Rome will just be relegated to the trash bin of history, as if it were not worth knowing anything about it?

    • [Excerpts selected by “New Catholic” at Rorate Caeli blog on Thursday, August 04, 2011 from Fr. Pagliarani’s [2011 interview on the Holy See – SSPX Doctrinal Talks]: ‘If we do not arrive at some canonical regularization…’[recently referenced by Rorate]

      The extensive interview granted by Father Davide Pagliarani, Superior for the Italian District of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X (FSSPX / SSPX), speaking from Albano Laziale, less than 2 miles from the Papal summer palace at Castel Gandolfo, on the current situation of the discussions between the Holy See and his Congregation was briefly mentioned by us before. The website of the SSPX American District is making its own translation available (part I, part II, and About the doctrinal discussion between the SSPX and Rome: 54 answers from Bishop Fellay), and we can offer our readers the most relevant excerpts of the entire interview. This interview is, for several reasons, a relevant historical document and a fair assessment of the current status and of what can be expected in the near future.

      Part I

      I think that to consider the talks unsuccessful is an error based on prejudice. This conclusion is drawn perhaps by those who expected from the talks some result foreign to the purposes of the talks themselves.

      The aim of the talks never was to arrive at a concrete agreement, but rather to compile a clear and complete dossier that would document the respective doctrinal positions of the two sides and to submit it to the Pope and the Superior General of the Society. Since the two commissions worked patiently, touching on essentially all the topics on the agenda, I do not see why anyone would have to regard the talks as unsuccessful.


      Above all, however, it seems to me that this shows the existence of groups and positions that expect some benefit from a canonical regularization of the Society, without however being willing to make Society’s battle their own or to assume the burdens and the consequences of it.

      There are in fact in the diversified Traditionalist archipelago a number of “commentators” who, while expressing their essential disagreement with the Society’s line of thinking, watch with the greatest interest current developments in our cause, hoping for some positive repercussions on the institutes with which they identify or on the local situations in which they are involved. I am impressed by the palpitations experienced by these commentators every time the slightest rumor about the future of the Society crops up.


      Consequently—and unfortunately—these groups are interested in the outcome of the Society’s story not so much for the sake of the doctrinal principles that support it and for the bearing it could have on the Church herself, but rather from a utilitarian perspective: the Society is seen as a breakthrough battalion of priests who now have nothing to lose but, if they obtain something significant for their congregation, will create a canonical precedent to which others will be able to appeal, too.


      If we do not arrive at some canonical regularization, that simply means that the hierarchy is not yet sufficiently convinced of the urgent need for that contribution. In that case we will have to wait a few more years, hoping for an increase in that awareness, which could occur along with and parallel to the acceleration in the process of the Church’s self-destruction.


      Part II

      To the members of the Society it is clear that the identity of their own congregation is structured around a definite, precise axis that is called Tradition; upon this principle, which is universally shared within the Society, the unity of the Society itself is built, and I think that objectively it is impossible to find a stronger principle of identity and cohesion: precisely this basic cohesion on the essentials is what allows the individuals to have variously nuanced views on any matters of opinion.


      If the two rites are considered to be two equivalent forms of the same Roman Rite, there is no reason why the Tridentine Rite should be so dangerous as to require some sort of examination before allowing it.

      Finally, if one honestly accepts this premise [of equivalence], there is no reason why priests and bishops who publicly reject the Tridentine Rite should not be asked to refrain from celebrating the New Mass until they let go of their stubborn resolution.


      I think that article 19 of the Instruction, although on the one hand it is the expression of a typical diplomatic attitude, on the other hand can unfortunately become part of a sort of ill-concealed moral blackmail. It reveals an awareness on the part of the bishops that the Tridentine Mass inevitably conveys an ecclesiology that is incompatible with that of the Council and the Novus Ordo. Consequently the Tridentine Mass can be allowed only while exercising direct control over the consciences of the faithful. To me that seems rather alarming.


      Part III

      Consequently the formal, peremptory request to proceed to ordinations according to the new rite is the external sign that is deemed sufficient to prove that the ordinands (and the bishop himself) fully accept article 19 of the Instruction; by adopting the new rite for the event that is undoubtedly the most important and significant one in their lives and in the life of the diocese.


      Dulcis in fundo [Last but not least], since everyone knows that the Society will never accept either article 31 nor article 19, all the malcontents at the one end of the spectrum are now criticizing it for its “disobedience”, thus seeking to show off their own “legality”, while at the other end they watch it, hoping that its intransigence will indirectly obtain something positive for them too.

      And so we see again the mechanism of “sequebatur a longe ut videret finem” [“following at a distance so as to see the outcome”] and of utilitarian hope placed in the Society that we referred to earlier.


      Archbishop Lefebvre embodied something imperishable: the Tradition of the Church, and if there was a bishop in whom Tradition never ceased to be “living” (if I may use the expression), it was certainly the “rebel” bishop. For example, the one prelate who never stopped celebrating publicly in the traditional rite, which was then mistakenly considered abrogated and banned, was the founder of the Society of St. Pius X: he did not merely hand on to new generations a printed, dusty missal, but preserved and transmitted a real, living treasure which is present every day on the altar, with which he was totally and personally involved.


      But anyone who speaks about him, for good or for ill, cannot do so without speaking about a Tradition which, far from being “Lefebvrite”, is simply and forever Catholic.

      • I have seen the references you posted, Tom.
        And none of them say a single word about the actual *content* of the talks, like: About Doctrine A, we said X and Rome said Y.
        This is what I find to be so strange.

  2. Seems like the incoming three are a mixed bag; one clearly tending toward Liberal Compromise, one more or less Old Schooler, and one a bit of both.
    Seems Pagliarani is the latter.
    It’s more than a bit worrisome that
    1) He was the man who saved Bs. Fellay’s butt at the extraordinary Chapter of 2012.
    2) He was not long after made a major superior (rector at La Reja seminary).
    Was his election payback for loyalty to the Liberal cause? Was it perhaps because he acquitted himself well in walking the line between the Liberals and the Old Schoolers?
    After all, he took over a seminary run by the “archconservative” Williamson, and somehow managed to make it work without too much blowback from Williamson loyalists.
    Remember that crack that Fellay made about Bs. Williamson in 2012; that Williamson was like a chunk of plutonium that someone slipped in your pocket; you’ve got to get rid of it as fast as possible, but there’s no safe place to put it.
    Probably Fellay had ironically become plutonium himself.
    Was Pagliarani’s election a result of political steering; a way to get rid of a superior general who had become plutonium to the Liberal cause, because he had permanently lost the trust of too many voters? Was Pagliarani seen as a good replacement because he was loyal to that cause, but much more diplomatic toward the Old Schoolers?
    Speculations, yes.
    What good are they?
    They are not known truths, so they are NO good as a foundation for making judgments, and/or acting upon such judgments.
    But they do prepare the mind to be ready to accept a variety of possibilities that COULD be known as true in the future; they keep it free of stupid, head-in-the-sand, blind loyalty to persons, or even organizations.
    “The Lord is my helper: and I will look down on my enemies. It is good to confide in the Lord, rather than to have confidence in man. It is good to trust in the Lord, rather than to trust in princes.” Ps. 117
    “Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit shall go forth, and he shall return into his earth: in that day all their thoughts shall perish. Blessed is he who hath the God of Jacob for his helper, whose hope is in the Lord his God” Ps. 145
    Original sin never rests, nor does the mystery of iniquity.
    Nor should we therefore.

    • Le Figaro on SSPX election: “Fellay toppled”, “Side opposed to deal with Rome now in charge.”

      By “New Catholic” at Rorate Caeli blog on Thursday, July 12, 2018

      Yesterday, following the election of their new Superior-General, the General Chapter of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) elected his two Assistants: Bishop Alfonso de Galarreta and Father Christian Bouchacourt. The religion correspondent of the main French daily, Le Figaro, Jean-Marie Guénois, explains the new situation:

      Lefebvrists: Bishop Fellay is toppled, Father Davide Pagliarani becomes new Superior-General

      by Jean-Marie Guénois

      In the setting of a General Chapter that took place Wednesday in Ecône, Switzerland, a new Superior-General was elected to head the Society of Saint Pius X, toppling the current Superior, Bishop Fellay, that was nonetheless considered the favorite. With this new man in charge, Father Davide Pagliarani, it is the side opposed to a rapprochement with Rome that has now has the upper hand.

      It is a surprise. After two terms of twelve years heading the Society of Saint Pius X — founded by Abp. Marcel Lefebvre, leader of the opponents of the Vatican II Council — Bishop Bernard Fellay, 60, of Swiss nationality, was not re-elected as Superior General. Yet, he had been considered as the favorite.

      It was also learned in the evening that Bishop de Galarreta and Father Christian Bouchacourt — of French nationality and superior of the District of France — had been elected “assistants” of the new Superior. The orientation of this new team suggests that the dossier of rapprochement with Rome could slow down, or stagnate, considering how relevant are the doctrinal disagreements between the Vatican and Ecône.

      Source: Le Figaro, July 11/12, 2018 – excerpts

  3. Will the new SSPX Superior General strike an old tone?

    Louie Verrecchio – July 12, 2018

    On 11 July 2018, the Priestly Society of St. Pius X (FSSPX) elected a new Superior General – Fr. Davide Pagliarani, until then, the District Superior of Italy.

    Based on its public commentary of the past two years or so, it is unfortunately difficult to say what the SSPX considers its greatest challenges in the present day.

    I’ve written rather extensively in this space about the mixed and contradictory messages that have been coming from the SSPX in recent years. I won’t repeat those concerns here other than to say that a sincere seeker of truth today may very well come away from their website more confused than ever as to what is, and what is not, consonant tradition.

    As of this moment, it seems that the SSPX has lost sight of the grave necessity of having a very clear and consistent public stance on the current state of affairs in the Church; offering bold and unambiguous condemnations of every blasphemy and heresy that comes forth from men in authority who are trusted by many.

    Doing so in our day requires, above all, a willingness to address head-on the unprecedented mockery that is being made of the papacy. One thinks back to October of 2013 and Bishop Fellay’s public declaration, which has since faded into a deafening silence, “We have in front of us a genuine Modernist!”

    Returning to such clarity and conviction, in my view, is the major task that lies before the SSPX, and only time will tell if the election of a new Superior General will make a difference in this regard.

    One thing is certain: To the extent that the SSPX is pleased to operate – as it has appeared of late – under the assumption that it is enough to simply minister to their own, to focus on priestly formation, and to manage their own internal affairs, while taking care not to offend neo-conservative sensibilities, it will ultimately fail to adequately serve the needs of God’s people in the present day.

    Writing in the August 2008 issue of Si Si No No, Fr. Pagliarani said of Vatican II:

    The very finality of the Council, convoked with the explicit intention not to define truths of faith and not to condemn error (cf. Gaudet Mater Ecclesia), inaugurated a magisterium with a novel method and approach… the Second Vatican Council was convoked not to define dogmas, correct errors, or condemn doctrinal deviations as in the past, but to bond with the modern world. This decision to leave aside any intention of imposing certain truths of faith meant that the Council was intended to abstain from teaching in the objective, traditional, and magisterial sense of the term.

    These words were written nearly a decade ago and one wonders:

    Does Fr. Pagliarani believe that the Society has a duty to teach in the objective, traditional, and magisterial sense of the term, and if so, does he still believe that this necessarily involves correcting errors and condemning doctrinal deviations, otherwise it will merely be bonding with the modern world?

    We shall see. In the meantime, let us pray and fast for the SSPX and for Fr. Pagliarani, as clearly he has a lot of important work to do.

  4. The New SSPX Is The Old SSPX

    JUL 13 ’18 – Posted by Mundabor

    I never thought that Bishop Fellay ever planned to betray the SSPX in the way in which Theresa May is trying to castrate Brexit. I am also aware that an organisation like the SSPX cannot and will not react to the antics of Francis in the way we blogger (should) do. Therefore, I cannot say that the election of Father Davide Pagliarani as the new Superior General lifts a weight out of my worried soul.

    However, it is logical that the new Superior General and his known stance on the talks with Francis make the danger of the SSPX being someway duped into delivering themselves in the hands of the Vatican even more remote. If anything, it will avoid the couple of, if you allow me, “wtf moments” like the ones I have experienced in the past years before full details emerge.

    A little less conversation, as Elvis would say, is good in the current climate. One also hopes that the SSPX will become more aggressive in the denunciation of Francis’ various mistakes, frauds and lies; but again, I think it is the voice of the people, not the voice of the priests, that should be most brutal.

    I welcome the development. It seems to me that this here is another little “Salvini moment”: the emerging on the scene of a well spoken, tough Italian determined to do it right.

    But the priority now, my daily thought is not the relationship between the SSPX and the Evil Clown. It is the confirmation of Mr Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That might change the course of history way more than the election of an Evil Clown.

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